HALIFAX — A new study has found a sharp rise in perfectionism, suggesting millennials are more inclined to have unrealistic standards and harsher self-criticism than previous generations.
The study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Review says perfectionism increased substantially from 1990 to 2015.
It found that perfectionists tend to become more neurotic — characterized by negative emotions like guilt, envy, and anxiety — and less conscientious as time passes.
Dr. Simon Sherry, one of the study's authors and a clinical psychologist in Halifax, says perfectionism is a serious and even deadly epidemic in modern western societies.
Sherry, a professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University, says parental and socio-cultural factors, including a rise in social media, appear to contribute to the rise in perfectionism.
The study was a large-scale meta-analysis — a "study of studies" — involving 77 studies and nearly 25,000 participants ranging in age from 15 to 49.
It found women and men report similar levels of perfectionism.